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Sweden’s Summerburst turns fans into influencers

Sweden’s Summerburst will this year invite all festivalgoers to work with it on campaigns and around events leading up to the festival this summer.

The Live Nation-owned dance music event, which this year celebrates its tenth edition, is asking fans to become ‘Summerburst Icons’ via a partnership with influencer marketing platform Society Icon.

Using Society Icon’s technology – which connects companies with fans and customers, or ‘icons’, who market the brands via their own channels – the festival is aiming to “build a community of its own where everyone, regardless of their number of followers on social media, are welcome and can enjoy exclusive material and offers,” according to a Society Icon statement, and “apply for campaigns they want to work with – both with the festival directly [and] even with the festival’s partners.”

Kristofer Åkesson, the longtime marketing and communications director for Live Nation Sweden, joined Society Icon in July. In addition to Live Nation, with which it has worked for a year and a half, the company’s clients include Warner Music, H&M and magazine publisher Aller Media.

“This partnership with Live Nation and Summerburst is completely in line with how the market is moving”

“Summerburst is and has always been about our fans; we are nothing without them,” says festival founder Anders Boström. “The fact that, with the Society Icon technology, we can now can start working with and creating Summerburst 2020 together with the fans, on their own social channels, is […] super exciting.”

Mose Haregot, founder and CEO of Society Icon, adds: “Society Icon is all about putting the individual at the centre of communication and marketing, regardless of who you are or how many followers you have.

“To keep developing this partnership with Live Nation and Summerburst like this is completely in line with how the market and behaviour is moving, and proves that it is in the meeting between people and brands that we can create completely new values ​​and business, and let consumers create together with the brands they love.”

More information about Summerburst 2020, which will take place in June, will be released later this month. Last year’s festival, at Stockholm Olympic Stadium, featured performances from Calvin Harris, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Tiësto, Will Sparks, R3hab and more.

 


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The rise of influencer-based marketing strategies

Are you seeing email open rates decline? Possibly higher cost-per-clicks in social advertising? Are website visitors spending less and less time on your site? If so, you’re not alone.

Businesses are struggling to stay relevant and to get in front of the right customer, at the right time, with the right call to action. This decline in relevance could be contributed to the ever-growing world of influencer-based marketing.

Individuals who are experts within their respective fields – be it an Instagram swimsuit model or an incredible athlete – are able to engage with their followers in a more intimate and connected way than individual brands can achieve via direct marketing efforts such as email or SMS.

The reason? Those direct messaging and direct marketing outlets have become so frequently used that consumers are almost immune to their effect. As a result, the outlets no longer have the strong impact that they once had. The text messages come in and consumers immediately ignore them or request for them to stop, whereas the emails go straight to junk or promotions folders.

On the other hand, as consumers, we extend trust to influencers that we recognise and admire. We award them credibility. These internet stars now have more ability to influence than ever before, due to the increasing popularity and prevalence of social media.

Direct messaging and direct marketing outlets have become so frequently used that consumers are almost immune to their effect

In a recent study conducted by Vamp Brands, 61% of people reported that they have interacted with an influencer on social media in some capacity, at least once a day. It was also reported that 87% of shoppers were inspired by an influencer to make a purchase.

However, in many cases, the best “influencer” is a customer, regardless of what their Instagram following may be. Why? Because a customer isn’t doing a mass promotion, they are selecting those of their friends who would be most likely buy. It’s a much more personal approach.

Right now, most e-commerce sites are not taking advantage of the most opportune time to convert existing customers into promoters. The best moment to ask a customer to share a promotion or product with friends is immediately post-checkout – no sooner – in order to avoid any disruption of the checkout conversion flow.

Furthermore, the customer is most excited and engaged just after buying, presenting the ideal opportunity to ask them to share the purchase with friends, or to encourage them to share coupon codes, offering rewards for the recruitment of any new customers.

In many cases, the best “influencer” is a customer, regardless of what their Instagram following may be

Therefore, when brands market to that customer – or to the people they recommended – they are going to convert a lot higher percentage than standard, direct marketing efforts, that go out to an audience of people without any basis of trust.

This is the foundation of influencer marketing and the reason why it works so much more effectively. Referral marketing tools are getting more advanced as machine learning algorithms become more refined, meaning that overall effectiveness and conversions will only continue to improve.

Essentially, influencer marketing is word-of-mouth marketing and, in the future, influencer and peer-to-peer marketing efforts are going to merge even more closely. As direct marketing becomes less and less effective, these modern kinds of marketing are only going to have more room to grow.

It’s time to make sure that, as a brand, you are properly enabled with the right tools and campaigns to support this shift.

 


Mark Miller is the co-founder and chief executive of TicketSocket, a white label ticketing and registration service for venues and events.

Verve raises $18.5m to take P2P platform global

Word-of-mouth live entertainment marketing platform Verve has raised US$18.5 million in a new funding round, bringing its total investment up to $28.5m.

The platform, formerly known as StreetTeam, closed a $10m funding round last October, with label giant Universal Music Group among the investors. The latest round of investment was led by venture-capital firm Draper Esprit, and also includes existing investors Kindred, Frontline Ventures, and Backed.

Verve’s VP of client success, James Beaumont, spoke at the International Festival Forum (IFF) last month, explaining to festival delegates how its software works. Verve’s model is based on the premise that ‘the best way to be sold an experience is to hear about someone else’s’, and allows festival fans to become ‘ambassadors’, earning free tickets and other prizes by earning points from selling tickets to their friends. This, said Beamount, is about “really targeting the 10% of people who are already your customers, empowering them to go out and spread the word”.

The peer-to-peer model also drives incremental sales, he continued, as someone coming to a festival with a large entourage – in one case, up to 56 extra people – will collectively spend more at the event.

Using Tinderbox festival as a case study, Beamount revealed 285 ambassadors sold 2,500 tickets – or 5% of the event’s capacity – in its first year. The Verve platform is especially effectively for selling to millennials, he added, as “gen Z has become accustomed to ignoring” traditional advertising, especially online.

“Today’s audience is becoming immune to traditional advertising and increasingly prefer to discover through friends and people they trust”

Verve, whose customers include Live Nation, AEG, C3, Bonnaroo, React Presents, Bestival, Digital Dreams and Electric Zoo, has grown from 170 to 450 clients over the past 12 months, selling more than half a million tickets. It will, it says, use the new funding to “continue its global expansion within the live entertainment sector, as well as enter new markets” (it is currently active in the UK and US).

Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit, comments: “Callum and Liam [Negus-Fancey, co-founders] have built a world-class team who we back with full confidence, and we very much believe in where Verve is heading. Today’s audience is becoming immune to traditional advertising and increasingly prefer to discover through friends and people they trust.

“Verve has already proven word-of-mouth is a scalable and powerful tool for live entertainment, and we will support them in taking this channel to other markets and sectors.”

“Kindred is delighted to have increased their commitment to Verve as a part of this financing round, joining a strong global venture-capital brand in Draper Esprit,” adds Leila Zegna, a founding partner of Kindred. “Since our first investment in the company in 2016, we have been continually impressed by the build-out and strength of the management team and consistent execution against ambitious product and commercial targets.

“Going forward, we are excited about Verve’s ability to not only dominate the festival market but also penetrate the enormous opportunities within music and sport on a global basis.”

 


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Ex-Ticketfly exec to lead US StreetTeam operation

StreetTeam has poached Ticketfly’s Jeff Kreinik to head up an expansion into North America.

Kreinek, formerly head of festivals at the Pandora-owned primary ticket agency, will focus on growing the company’s presence in the US and Canada as its new vice-president of live entertainment for North America.

StreetTeam, a peer-to-peer (P2P) live event marketing platform which earlier this month secured US$10 million in funding from Universal Music Group and other investors, has sold more than 200,000 tickets since its formation in March this year. Its business model is based on rewarding ‘advocates’ – people who sell its clients’ tickets and products to their friends – with prizes including free tickets, VIP access and the opportunity to meet performers.

“Peer-to-peer is a great sales channel but many events still struggle to sell enough tickets, so there’s a real need for software that can drive peer-to-peer sales at scale. StreetTeam makes that quick and easy”

It has more than 60 festival clients, including Bonnaroo, Voodoo, Bestival, Reading Festival, Life Is Beautiful and Electric Zoo, through agreements with promoters such as ID&T/SFX Entertainment and Live Nation.

“I’m delighted to join StreetTeam and return to my roots in marketing,” said Kreinik, who prior to joining Ticketfly served spells at Front Gate Tickets and New Orleans-based promoter Huka Entertainment. “Peer-to-peer is a great sales channel but many events still struggle to sell enough tickets, so there’s a real need for software that can drive peer-to-peer sales at scale. StreetTeam makes that quick and easy, so I’m proud to help hasten its adoption across the US and Canada.”

StreetTeam co-founder Liam Negus-Fancey adds: “We’re excited to welcome Jeff on board and to strengthen our commitment to the live entertainment sector in North America. Jeff has an exceptional track record and his experience growing successful companies such as TicketFly makes him a powerful addition to our team.”

 


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UMG buys into P2P ticket platform StreetTeam

Word-of-mouth marketing company StreetTeam, whose clients include festivals such as Bonnaroo, Reading Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival, has raised US$10 million funding from a group of investors that includes recorded industry giant Universal Music Group (UMG).

UMG, which also has a concert-promotion operation, U-Live, is, along with Saatchi Invest, one of several “strategic investors” in the funding round, which was led by investment firms Spring Partners and Frontline Ventures.

London- and LA-headquartered StreetTeam, formed in March from the merger of peer-to-peer (P2P) ticketing software companies The Physical Network and We Represent, says it has sold more than 200,000 tickets using its platform, which rewards its “advocates” – people who sell its clients’ tickets and products to their friends – with prizes including free tickets, VIP access and the opportunity to meet performers.

“It’s increasingly difficult for brands to acquire a young audience, as this age group increasingly relies on friends… StreetTeam helps brands turns these trusted friends into ambassadors”

It has more than 60 festival clients, including Bonnaroo, Voodoo, Bestival, Reading Festival, Life Is Beautiful and Electric Zoo, through agreements with promoters such as ID&T/SFX Entertainment and Live Nation. SFX’s Michael Julien says the platform “ended up being the largest sales contributor outside of our own marketing campaigns” for this year’s Electric Zoo.

“It’s increasingly difficult for brands to acquire a young audience, as this age group increasingly relies on friends who are passionate and knowledgeable about a given area when making purchase decisions,” comments company co-founder Callum Negus-Fancey (pictured). “StreetTeam helps brands turns these trusted friends into ambassadors, turning word of mouth into a reliable and scalable sales channel.”

 


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